Multi-disciplinary consultancy Frank Whittle Partnership has released plans for its latest sports development, a £1.6m community sports hub in Chester.
The masterplan, which involves football pitches and training facilities at the King George V playing fields in Blacon, has been drawn up by FWP, which was commissioned by Chester FC Community Trust. The plans will be presented to the club’s fans and public before the season ends.
FWP’s proposals include a full-size floodlit 3G pitch, improvement of existing grass pitches, a new clubhouse with changing rooms and community facilities, refurbishment of the existing pavilion to include an education suite, and additional car parking and access to the site.
Nick Wiley, associate partner at FWP, said: “The sports hub will provide much needed facilities for grassroots clubs and leagues in Chester, as well as delivering wider community benefits including improved health and wellbeing, increased participation in sport and new employment and education opportunities.
“In all our sports sector work our aim is to deliver real value for sport, leisure and entertainment for the whole of the local community, with real benefits for clubs and their supporters. Our expertise is in developing modern facilities that will be used by members of the community seven days a week, for 364 days of the year.”
The project is a collaboration with Cheshire West & Chester Council, which is investing in the project as part of a £4m commitment to improve football facilities across the borough. Additional funding is coming from national governing bodies and Section 106 agreements.
Businessman Stuart Murphy has agreed to donate £200,000 to the scheme and the Community Trust, the charitable arm of Chester FC, is aiming to raise £300,000 through public donations, fundraising events and working with local businesses to bring the plans to fruition.
Jim Green, chief executive of Chester FC Community Trust, said: “This is a hugely exciting project and will create an outstanding sports facility in the heart of the Chester community.
“We have worked closely with key stakeholders in developing the scheme and we believe it will have huge benefits for the community and grassroots sport in Cheshire West.
“It has taken a lot of work to get to this point but the really hard work starts now to raise the money needed to make this fantastic facility a reality and we hope the community will get behind our campaign.”
FWP, based in Preston and Manchester, has now advised more than 80 sports clubs across the UK on redevelopment and modernisation plans. The redevelopment of Preston North End’s Deepdale, Oldham Athletic’s new North Stand and AFC Fylde’s new-build ground are among its projects in the region, while it is currently working with Scunthorpe United on a new stadium.